Cyclist killed in Karori, Wellington

A cyclist is dead after a head-on collision with a car in Karori last night.

Police and the serious crash team are investigating the fatal crash that occurred about 11pm.

Police said the man was travelling down Makara Road and collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction.

The cyclist died at the scene from injuries received.

His details will be released once police have notified the next of kin.


Another report says the crash occured at the intersection of Makara Rd and Allington Rd.

A "dangerous" corner where a young cyclist was killed in a late-night collision with a car was an accident waiting to happen, residents say.

A 22-year-old man died in Wellington, at 11pm on Saturday and a woman driver, 60, was helped by rescue personnel then taken to Wellington Hospital in shock.

Residents heard the crash, which left pieces of the man's bicycle scattered over the road. They rushed to help him, but he died at the scene. Police said the man was coming down Makara Rd, in the suburb of Karori, when he collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction, at the intersection with Allington Rd.

It is understood the man was riding home after visiting a friend.

Resident Kelda McDermott said both cars and bikes sped and regularly cut the corner.

"We see it all the time. I hate backing out of my garage. You get bikes, cars, pedestrians and buses."

The accident was tragic, she said. "It's a real shame that somebody has lost their life."

Mark Grooby said the corner, which led up Makara Rd, was dangerous, with cyclists and cars sharing the road. "I always thought there would be an accident, but I didn't think it would be a fatal one."

Malili Mapu, who was woken by the sound of the accident, described it as a very loud bang.

"I went to the window and saw a red car, and a guy lying on the road. Bits of the bike were scattered on the road."

People had already arrived to help both the cyclist and the driver, she said. "It's a very dangerous corner. People go fast up and down there all the time."

Detective Sergeant Fleur De Bes said the man died at the scene from his injuries.

He had been wearing a helmet and had cycle lights.

An autopsy was carried out in Wellington yesterday.

The Serious Crash Unit was investigating.

It was too early to say who was at fault, Ms De Bes said.

Wellington police would like to hear from anyone who saw the accident.

The cyclist's name was not made public yesterday, as his family were still being told about the accident.

In the past five years, an average of 10 cyclists a year have died on New Zealand roads.

Cycling Advocates' Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said more than half of urban crashes happened at intersections. "Our message to all road users is to be extra careful at intersections."

A cyclist killed in a collision with a car did not feel safe riding in Wellington, his sister says.

Ben Lawless, 22, died going home from cooking a roast dinner to celebrate sister Jennifer's birthday. He was due to start a new job at ANZ Bank today.

"We had a really nice time, watching a movie. He said, `bye, I'll see you at the markets tomorrow'," Ms Lawless said yesterday. "Generous and funny", Mr Lawless was a keen cyclist, who never owned a car. He often biked to Karori from Mt Cook to hang out with her and his nephew. "That was a big part of the reason he came to Wellington."

But he had said he did not feel safe cycling in the city. "What I want to say, and this is something my brother believed, is that New Zealand is not a safe place for cyclists. He used to get quite upset at how cyclists were treated by drivers."

He had lights and a helmet when the accident happened at the intersection of Allington Rd and Makara Rd at 11.10pm on Saturday.

Karori people knew the intersection was dangerous, Miss Lawless said. "While we don't know the cause of the accident, it's very poorly lit on the side where Ben was." With no traffic island, cars often cut the corner as they headed up Makara Rd, she said.

A past president of the Canterbury University debating society, Mr Lawless liked the outdoors, spearfishing, snorkelling, tramping and camping.

A spate of five cycle deaths on New Zealand roads in November convinced the chief coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, to start a special inquest into bike safety.

It will examine whether there are any patterns in cycle deaths, and possible law changes needed.

He was responding to a call by the Cycling Advocates Network for action to ensure Kiwi drivers were better educated.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said she had already emailed council staff asking for information on the Karori intersection, including any past efforts to make it safer.

Hearing about Ben's death is distressing. My thoughts are with his family and friends.
I agree it's best not to speculate on the cause of the crash until the facts are established.

If you feel moved to take action, here's some ideas from the Cycling Advocates Network.

1. Keep riding. There's safety in numbers so the more people there are riding, the lower the risk.

2. Remember that fatal crashes are rare - down from 27 in 1990, to 10 in 2010.

3. Send your thoughts to Minister of Transport Steven Joyce:, asking him to make cycling safety a high, rather than medium priority in the Safer Journeys strategy.

4. Join and support you local cycling advocacy group, CAN receives no govt funding for it's advocacy work.

5. Support lower speed zones, funding of cycle skills training, stricter licensing and testing of drivers, better enforcement of road rules, compulsory third party insurance, and increased funding of cycleways. No single measure will eliminate crashes so we need a range of programmes.

6. Write to the paper, getting blogging, tweeting and facebooking. Talk to your friends.

7. As always, follow the rules and show common courtesy.

8. Remember that some road users don't pay as much attention as they should, so be prepared to gve way even if you have the right of way.

Another cyclist death renews calls for driver safety on New Zealand roads but a cycling advocade group says both parties need to be more safety concious

And there is a call for our driving standards to be reviewed following the death of a 22-year-old cyclist in Wellington.

Benjamin Lawless was killed after colliding with a vehicle on Makara road in Karori on Saturday night.

Cycling Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan says both cyclists and drivers need to be more safety conscious on the region's roads.

He says the group is pushing for a new look at driving standards and the funding and roll out of nationwide cycle training.